One description of the ending for The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky is "ironic." Situational irony is a literary technique that can be used for endings of stories to give an ending with a surprise twist. Irony is something that is different from what is expected. As an example, if...
One description of the ending for The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky is "ironic." Situational irony is a literary technique that can be used for endings of stories to give an ending with a surprise twist. Irony is something that is different from what is expected. As an example, if a student nods off during an exam, awakens in time to go through the exam with lightning speed and receives a top mark, that is ironic--to the other students it is even painfully ironic.
Literary irony has three forms: verbal (spoken or written) irony, dramatic irony and situational irony. In literature the technique of situational irony presents a situation in which an expected outcome or circumstance of a situation is different from what would normally be expected. In The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, the expected outcome between a town marshal and a gunman is turned around and at the confrontation the gunman is overpowered--but not by guns or brute force--and slinks off, scuffing his feet in the sand. There are two ironies at work here.
First, Scruffy doesn't know how to face up to a man's marriage, it appears to be foreign country to him, as alien as the moon. Also he harbors some deeply buried code of ethics that precludes shooting a marshal in cold blood in front of a woman and precludes carrying on a gunning feud with a married man; it's as though he doesn't want to intentionally be a widow maker. Secondly, Jack is so preoccupied with worry about how his new bride will be received by Yellow Sky town folk that he and she both laugh with a "false note" as he helps her off the train and then they practically run away from sight. But, lo and behold, it is his wife's presence and existence that ends a gun feud and possibly saves Jack's life. This is an unexpected and happy portent of good reception for his bride in Yellow Sky. As a last note, the title even carries irony with it because "yellow" is a slang adjective reserved for cowards: a bride has made a coward of a gunslinger who can't face down her intrinsic power.